Bengt Nirje on Normalization
Produced by David Goode / The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Produced in 1993.
Normalization and Home Life
Bengt Nirje: For the normal rest, the normal step to the lifecycle, you're a baby boomer and what that means for all family supports and to come as close to normal child development as possible. It means [Inaudible] stimulation and so forth and all the education rights and educational development. And also then that you have not lessons that were [Inaudible] you can explore and also that you learn to become adults in this process.
The whole thing is that Ruth Benedict was born in Faribault, Minnesota. That was the first large horrible institution I saw in 1967. That was located outside Minneapolis. Now, to have a normal rhythm on the day, both when you are yourself or as an adult or severely and multiply handicapped, disabled, or when you, as a family [Inaudible], you are then depending on assistants, personal assistants [Inaudible] to live in the community, live in your apartment, live with your family. And the family could have a need for someone coming in assisting you in the morning, assisting you with going to bed, with clothing, with private matters [Inaudible] that you have to have; and the right to respite care, to make life come as close to normal conditions of life in your community as possible. And those which of course obviously show that you had to get out of bed, you have to be activated, you have to do something and so forth. And that was of course [Inaudible] in the institutions, for example, when people stopped, left at 5 o'clock or 5:30, there was no normal rhythm on the day; it left, it disappeared.
Now the normal rhythm of the week has to do with you live at one place that's private and personal. Then you go to school or you go to work, which is impersonal. You learn as others have learned that you can do a job that can be done as well or better as someone else. If you're lucky, you'll find a job that fits you. Or then you have lecture time where you have both private and personal, and impersonal where you are a customer or a passenger on a train and part of the audience. But you express yourself, your interests, your hobbies, your religion, etc. And that's why you have your social life. That's where you meet your friends and do your… have time to deal with matters of importance